Gratitude Ain’t Just An Attitude, It’s a Way Of Life

IMG_0393.PNG

We made it through Thanksgiving…no, no…actually, Thanksgiving was really wonderful. Will came out and joined me and we had a lovely time. I picked him up from the airport and it was GOOD to see him. I actually MISSED him! And I didn’t have that weird uh-oh-something-isn’t-quite-right feeling. It wasn’t even a passing thought. Does this mean that all is fine and dandy in sobriety land? Oh, no. Not by a long shot.

You see, a year ago, I was visiting this same son and daughter-in-law when Will came out to visit as well. Only, we were in a completely different place in our relationship. He was still big time into the manipulation and gas lighting although he was not acting out in his addiction. While there, he snuck my journal and read it, hacked my phone and read my texts to friends, and lied continued to lie/conceal things he had done. It was during this time last year, when my doctor’s office called to tell me my test results for an STD were positive. So…there were definitely triggers. A LOT of triggers.  But, oh, what a difference in how they affected me. And my reaction. And my behavior. And my emotion! I was able to instantly recognize a trigger when I took the grandkids to the pond to feed the ducks, just as I did on my last visit. As I approached the same bench on which I sat listening to my doctor tell me my test results last year, I felt a cold sadness coming over me. I clearly heard the words and felt the pain of that moment. I took a deep breath. And in the next moment, it was gone. I quickly realized that I was healthy, I had become stronger than that bad moment and could deal with the aftermath. I was grateful for where I am now and the people in my life that I love. AND THAT WAS IT!  In the next moment we were throwing bread crumbs to the ducks and making silly duck calls and then continued our walk home. I did not even think about it again until I said my prayers and gave thanks for the healing I had been blessed with.  The many other triggers in the three weeks I was there were so fleeting that I scarcely remember what they were. Something Will did caused a panic in me and I lashed out with a snarky remark…and very quickly apologized for it. He, also, realized what he had done to trigger my panic and apologized. Then he held me.and he kissed me. And he told me, as he does so much now, how very much he loves me and is grateful for me.

We have our moments. Believe me, when we got “home”to our tiny little trailer to find it without heat or hot water in 36 degree weather, it was not a good moment. But it was also not a moment where either of us got upset with one another, or engaged in any blame. We simply turned the electric blanket on high and tried to stay warm enough to sleep til morning  so we could find and fix the problem in the daylight. Trust me when I say, this is a completely different dynamic in our relationship. It feels healthy, and loving and like a true team effort. We are now two people in this marriage, both equally committed and both giving 100%.  I would not have believed it possible a year ago in sometimes have to remind myself that we are just 18-months post D-day. I know there is So. Much. More to do to get where we want to be…and NEED to be. But I am happy and grateful that we have come this far. I know we both still have a lot to learn about ourselves and each other and our relationship, but I have so much hope for our future.

I really have a true spirit of Thanksgiving and appreciate all that I have been blessed with. I pray that, no matter what our circumstance, or where we are in our recovery process, we can take the time to be truly, deeply thankful for all that we have. I pray that through this Christmas season, we can focus on the love and peace of the season and find joy in our circumstances, no matter what they may be. I love each of you and the amazing healing and support that this amazing community has provided me. I would not be here…as many of you know…without your outpouring of love, friendship, guidance and wisdom. Happiest of Holidays to everyone. I will check back in before Christmas! 🎄

 

I’m OK…Really!

img_0357

I’ve been apart from Will for a full week. And…meh…I’m good. Really. I have not once had that urge to try to check up on him, grill him about his day to see if I could catch him in a lie, or even ask him how he’s doing, ya know, with his *whispers behind hand* R.e.c.o.v.e.r.y…..

Of course, I have been busy chasing a couple of the cutest little grand babies around while mommy and daddy are at school and work. So, I’m a little too busy to dwell on what Will may or may not be doing. Plus, I have been writing for another blog, as a contributor, and that has been a great outlet for me. I am finding that I can miss him but not yearn for him in a co-dependent way. I am really perfectly fine on my own. How liberating is that?!?! I don’t just survive without Will anymore, I continue to thrive. I continue to grow and learn and strengthen myself in heart and mind and I feel closer every day to being a full person again.

Will is coming to join me, the kids and these two littles for Thanksgiving and it will be good to be all together. Our house will be completed in January and it is beginning already to feel like a home…a real home. Our forever home. I will be thrilled next year at this time when hopefully my whole gang will join Will and I for the holidays. Together, really together, for the first time in two years. I look forward to that. I look forward to a lot of things these days, and I gotta say, after the devastation of the last year and a half, looking forward with joy and not dread feels pretty good.

I hope you all are finding joy with the upcoming holidays. I hope that with Thanksgiving being next week, we can all be thankful for the blessings we have. Grateful for who we are becoming and even the trials that have made us so strong. I am particularly grateful for this community and for the amazing, inspiring women I have met here who I am honored to call friends. I thank you all for your compassion, your trailblazing, your advice and your love. May God Bless and keep you this Thanksgiving. Hugs to All!

Leigh ❤️

 

Time Out

img_0330

Will is going hunting this weekend. He will be in the mountains with my son-in-law and grandson. I am fine with that. However, next week, I am leaving for a couple of weeks to be with my son and his family. Will will be here. By himself. Alone. I have been telling myself that: I should be passed worrying. He has been sober for over a year. I shouldn’t be triggered by the distance. I am over-reacting and being unreasonable. So far, it’s not working.

The truth is that I am worried. I don’t know if he will still be sober when he is left on his own. Because I still don’t trust him. I don’t. And I don’t know when, or even if, trust will ever be possible. I certainly can’t just decide to trust him 100% all over again after all he’s done. It is not possible for me to look at him yet and not see the deceit and filth that was his life. It is still a process. I know I am impatient, especially with myself, but this takes time. A LOT of time.

What I am not doing is beating myself up. I started to really get upset with myself for not being able to just take this in stride. But then I remembered…oh, yeah…I didn’t do this to me…Will did this to me. It is not unreasonable or unwarranted. It is not my responsibility to be perfectly ok with leaving my known sex addict husband alone for two weeks, unsupervised, a block away from a massage parlor and liquor store, with full internet access, and all the time in the world, to do whatever he wants with whomever he want, with no one to be accountable to. Whew….now that I’ve written that out, I think I can let it go. Because, really, there is nothing I can do about it. He will or he won’t act out. That will be entirely his choice. He will lie to me, or he won’t…again his choice. He has a poly next month. If he makes a poor choice then, that’s ok…I’ll be ok. I’ll re-file for divorce and he knows this. And if he chooses acting out over me, then I will be better off. And if he chooses to stay sober, then he and we will be much farther ahead in our recovery and on a firmer path. That, too, goes a long way in establishing that all-important trust.

So, in the meantime, I will breathe deep, I will exhale fully. I will let go and let God. I will trust in myself and my own healing as always. And I will be OK. Thanks readers…I needed this little time out. 😏

Fall, Falling, Fallen

img_0313

Fall has been beautiful here in my corner of the world. Because we had a cold snap which has been followed by an incredibly long warm (even hot) spell, the leaves turned the most brilliant colors and then stayed for an unusually long time. The spectacular reds, oranges and yellows of the oaks and aspens along with the deep greens of the various pines has been breathtaking!

The leaves are now starting to fall and this has put me into a contemplative mood. I have thought a lot about fall and falling. We use these words so often and in so many different contexts. I like the symbolism of Autumn being called fall…as in falling leaves. I also think of it as the time of year when things begin to slow down or, like the leaves, sort of die off. It is the beginning of the end of the year. It reminds me too of “The Fall” as of Adam. The end of paradise. The fall of man. This year it has been especially poignant to me as I am coming through my trauma. How relatively easy it is for temptation to lead to life changing consequences! And to falling down, falling “off the wagon” in an addiction, falling prey to complacency, falling for deceit or cons, falling into depression… Falling seems to be so simple…it’s the getting back up that takes strength.

img_0310

And what about those that have fallen? I noticed Will the other day as he was reading his scriptures at church. He has always read but does so now with the joy and intensity of a fallen man seeking redemption and renewal. He is eager and willing and humble. He reads with gratitude for the Word. I gave a meal to a man last week who was holding a cardboard sign that simply said, “Very Hungry.” He was grateful, and gracious. He quietly thanked me and said “God Bless you!” As I drove away, he began to eat his meal…right after he bowed his head, closed his eyes and thanked God. I was humbled by this “fallen” man and his humility. I cannot help but be impacted by the news every time I turn on the television. The violence, the hunger, the atrocities, the uncivilized nature of our world today…we are truly a troubled and fallen people. I am saddened for our society and fearful for my grandchildren and the world they are inheriting.

So, what can I do? I am one person. I am not rich, or powerful or famous. I have no widespread influence or means with which to make great change. But, I do have the will to start with myself. I am changing. I am growing and becoming. Every day. And with the change in myself, I realize that I am changing those around me. Certainly Will…he notices and tries harder because he sees me trying. My children and grandchildren are more compassionate and caring and sensitive. My friends…those who never knew there was such a thing as sex addiction…have become more aware and more attuned to the threat of porn and the temptation, and are doing what they can to join in, actively helping causes to protect our children and families. I can make a difference…if not in the world, at least in my life, in my circle, in my community. The people around me see me moving forward, growing and forgiving and learning…and their lives are impacted and they reach out to me. And I am blessed. And I am strengthened. And I am able to keep striving.

“Nana korobi ya oki” This is the Japanese proverb which means: Fall down seven times and get up eight. I love this. Isn’t that what Autumn is really? Things fall, they end, they die. That is part of life. BUT…we know…with absolute certainty…that there will come spring. That the things which were dead will be reborn and grow again. That, like Christ, they will be resurrected and spring forth with new life. There is always hope. And with hope comes joy. And with joy comes peace.

img_0314

 

 

The Weight of Our Words

I am sharing this post by Lorana Hoopes because it applies not only to politics which is the subject she writes about, but to life in general. And specifically to relationship…to marriage.

~by Lorana Hoopes. As a teacher I often tell students it’s not always what you say, but how you say it that matters. Today I was reminded of how powerful that statement is. At the end of my wor…

Source: The Weight of Our Words

Where Is The Love?

img_0309

Remember that song? From Robert Flack in the 70’s? Yeah, so I heard it the other day and for the first time I realized it was an OW song. . .

Where is the love

(Where is the love)
Where is the love
(Where is the love)
Where is the love
(Where is the love)
Where is the love

Where is the love
You said you’d give to me
Soon as you were free
Will it ever be
Where is the love

You told me that you didn’t love her
And you were gonna say goodbye
But if you really didn’t mean it
Why did you have to lie

Where is the love
You said was mine all mine
Till the end of time
Was it just a lie
Where is the love

If you had had a sudden change of heart
I wish that you would tell me so
Don’t leave me hangin on the promises
You’ve got to let me know

Oh, how I wish I never met you
I guess it must have been my fate
To fall in love with someone else’s love
All I can do is wait
(That’s all I can do)
Yeah, hey, yeah

Ugh! I used to like that song! But it made me start thinking about Will and the love he’s always said was reserved for me. He has been consistent in his claim that he never felt anything,ever, for any of his APs. To him, they were a means to an end, only cheaper than prostitutes and massage parlors. And, (his words) a LOT more work. So, I guess my question then is, “where is the love?” I mean, I know that Will is an intimacy anorexic and that it is a process, but at some point, isn’t there a breakthrough? A pivot point? An epiphany? I find that I catch myself at odd times just waiting. Waiting for some kind of grand gesture. Some big “sign” or clue that he is all of a sudden madly, deeply, stupidly in love with me. At other times, I just want him to open up and need me. And only me. Not in a sexual way. . .we are nowhere near that type of intimacy yet. . .just as ME! The one person who supposedly now knows all of his secrets and thoughts and feelings. The one person he is the closest to in the world. The one person he can confide in and trust. But. . .I still feel his distance. I still feel his isolation. I still feel his withdrawal. And I worry. I wonder. I imagine.

And then I surrender.

I know that I cannot manage Wills recovery, nor do I wish to take that on. . .I have enough to juggle managing my own. . .but I often wish he would share more about where he is with me. I realize this is a far cry from a year ago when all I wanted was for him to shut up already about “recovery this” or “healthy that” but, I, and we, were in a different place then.  Again, my impatience rears its ugly head and I know that time will tell a different story. . .but I crave love, and affection, and closeness, and connection. . .with Will. And I know that it cannot come thru physical intimacy yet. He is not ready and I know that I am not, so how do we get there?

I continue to work hard and do the things I know are healthy for me. I know that Will is working hard and I DO see such great change in him. . .yet. . . I am still left asking that question:

Where is the love?